Modi hails 'growing convergence' of US-India interests

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26 June, 2017

Ahead of Modi's visit to Washington, Tillerson had said that the trip would strengthen the Indo-US relationship and help advance the common interest in fighting terrorism and promoting economic growth.

In advance of the meeting, the Trump administration approved India's purchase of almost two dozen unarmed surveillance drones.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds his first meeting with US President Donald Trump today, all eyes will be on the two world leaders as they sit and dicuss a host of critical issues.

So far in his presidency, Trump has focused on outreach to China, India's strategic rival, as he looks to Beijing to rein in North Korea. The deal, estimated to be worth about $2 billion, is still subject to congressional approval.

Pakistan's role in supporting and financing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Iran-US trilateral meetings on bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan are likely to be discussed in detail.

David McKeeby, spokesman for the State Department bureau of political-military affairs, said it does not comment on proposed defense sales before Congress is formally notified.

"Modi's effort during the visit would be to get Trump strategically engaged with India - to get him to see the India-U.S. partnership as a win-win for both countries", Sajjanhar said.

Trump built a Trump Tower property in Mumbai and spoke warmly of India during his presidential campaign previous year.

The letter was signed by Republicans John Kennedy, Roy Blunt, Mike Crapo and James Lankford, and Democrat Amy Klobuchar.Sikh organizations planned a protest in front of the White House on Monday.While progress is expected in defense trade and cooperation, there are frictions elsewhere.Trump, who campaigned on an "America First" platform, has been troubled by the growing US trade deficit with India. Since 2008, India has signed more than $15 billion in United States defense contracts, including for C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft, P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Harpoon missiles and Apache and Chinook helicopters. While there is bipartisan support for closer US-India security ties, some lawmakers remain wary of the export of US drone technology to non-allies. He forged a strong relationship with President Barack Obama, and on his last visit in June 2016, he addressed Congress and described the USA as an "indispensable partner".

The meeting is the first between the leaders of the world's two largest democracies. After their media interaction, Trump joined by the First Lady would host the Prime Minister and the visiting Indian delegation for a dinner in the historic Blue Room of the White House.

But there could be increased strains on trade issues.

Trump, who campaigned on an "America First" platform, has been troubled by the growing USA trade deficit with India.

However, there are fundamental differences between them on issues including the H-1B visas, used by many Indian information technology (IT) companies, and the Paris climate accord, which India supports and Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from.

Modi would also like the United States to support New Delhi in its Make in India initiative after Lockheed Martin agreed to jointly build F-16 fighter jets with Tata Advanced Systems. India denies that and says it will continue to be part of the accord, regardless of US participation.


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